Peel the tomatoes:Bring a big pot of water to a vigorous boil. Slice a shallow “X” on the bottom of each tomato. Plunge them in the boiling water until you see their skin roll back, 10 to 15 seconds. Fish them out and let them cool for a couple of minutes before removing their skins. Do this step in 2 or 3 batches to make sure there’s just one layer of tomatoes in your pot at a time.
Prepare the tomatoes: Once the tomatoes are peeled, chop them roughly, or very finely, depending on how you like your sauce. Keep everything in a bowl: the flesh, the seeds, and the juice.
Cook the base of the sauce: Heat the olive oil in a big pot over medium-low heat. Add the onion, garlic and crushed red pepper and cook until translucent (don’t let it brown!), about 5 minutes. Pour the white wine into the pot and scrape the flavorful bits that may have stuck to the bottom of the pot. Let the wine evaporate (about 3 minutes more).
Simmer the sauce: Add the chopped tomatoes as well as the oregano, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and freshly ground pepper to the pot. Raise the heat to medium-high to bring the sauce to a boil then turn the heat to low again to let it simmer, uncovered. Stir once in a while.
The cooking time will vary from 20 to 45 minutes depending on the variety of tomatoes you used (less time for Italian varieties; more time for regular garden tomatoes). You want the final sauce to be thick, not watery. How to tell if the fresh tomato sauce is ready: The key is to look at the sauce before stirring it when it has simmered for about 5 minutes. At the beginning of the cooking time, you’ll see a thick layer of watery juices rise to the surface. As the sauce simmers, you’ll see less and less of that juice rising. The sauce is ready when it’s topped with just a thin layer of juice and you see tomato chunks surfacing here and there.
Fresh tomato sauce, before and after simmering.
When the sauce is ready, turn the heat off and taste it. Season with 1/2 to 1 tsp (2 to 5 ml) more salt. Stir in chopped basil leaves. Unless you're serving it right away, let the sauce cool completely.
STORAGE: Refrigerate the sauce in airtight containers for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 3 months.
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